Unsolicited Advice Givers
I give advice for a living, and I generally think it's rude to just pop off, unsolicited, with advice for a person. Your thoughts and experiences?
God, I've spent so much time here today.
At the moment, I've been getting a lot of advice to start on the babymaking before my babymaking gear wears out.
Posted by: MonicaP
at September 1, 2010 7:52 PM
There's the guy who continually offers me career advice. Of course, many folks will claim he has some for Ausperger's syndrome - he doesn't read body clues, he doesn't take hints, and he tends to say whatever is on his mind.
I'm thinking narcissist: it's all about him. I've taken to avoiding him. Courageous? no. But it keeps me from beating him with a 2x4. I think that's a pretty good trade.
Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie
at September 1, 2010 10:44 PM
Pretty much everyone on my dad's side of the family is constantly trying to tell me what to do with my life and what I'm doing wrong. My uncles are the worst of the bunch. It's gotten to the point where I've started to dread family get togethers because I can't stand another lecture.
What get's me the most is that, among my cousins on my dad's side, there are two college dropouts and two who never even made it to college and live at home. I just graduated from college in three years with a double major and am applying to law school. Am I really the one who needs the lecture?
Posted by: Ashley
at September 2, 2010 6:08 PM
Sometimes my dog has leash aggression with other dogs (just some of them) and with cats (always). I've had people come up to me during my walks and lend me advice by way of their own experiences - like, "You know, my dog use to do that - and when she/he did I had someone tell me xyz - and it worked". I think context matters a great deal. In this case, it is usually well received if you see someone struggling. But personal relationships...uh, not so much.
Maybe that is the key. When someone offers advice by way of "here's what has worked for me" they aren't telling you what you should be doing. They aren't assuming that you are incapable of managing your own life. So unsolicited advice, if useful and framed in a way which is not controlling I think is indispensable. It turns from advice giving to a conversation where no one is seeking a dominant role in the dynamic.
If I ever give advice when it is unsolicited, I do my best to format it in this way. But usually, I wait to be asked.
My neighbor, for instance is the queen of unsolicited advice. I like her very much. She is a nice person - but absolutely zero boundaries. Because she genuinely means well, I just try (over and over) to show her without telling her what it looks like to offer advice in a non-controlling way. I also (because she is my friend) let her know (nicely) when she has crossed the line. For example, when I am cooking, I do things differently then she does. And she will say something like "that's not how you are suppose to chop and onion, this is how you chop an onion..." My response is usually: "Huh, I never thought about it that way, but I think the way I do it works best for me". Sometimes she does have very good advice, but if she doesn't express it in a polite uncontrolling manner I tell her or sometimes I just say "Oh, that's nice".
The thing about giving advice when it isn't asked for, is it can come off as a bit arrogant, and IMHO rude.
Oh, another really helpful tool I've learned is that when someone comes to you with a problem, sometimes they just want to vent...other times they are asking for advice. But because this can be an emotional process, it's not always clear. Before my friend starts too far in, sometimes (if I am not clear) I ask "Just so I am clear, do you want me to listen right now or do you want any feedback". IF they say just listen, that is really great for me. I can just be there to listen and it removes the responsibility of me thinking of a solution while they are talking.
This is a recent discovery for me. I never learned this way of communicating until about two years ago.
My two cents.
Posted by: Feebie
at September 7, 2010 9:11 PM
Giving personal advice nine times out of ten is a bad idea.
I'm not talking about directions or tips or friendly suggestions. I'm talking about personal advice. Unsolicited personal advice. It's a funny thing and depending on the culture you live in it's boundaries are very different. I live in a country right now where strangers think nothing of giving you advice on EVERYTHING. It's hilarious. The key word (unless you're a parent..when it's entirely appropriate to advise your children on many things) is to give advice ONLY when asked for it. Watchwords "I need your advice", "What do you think?". Otherwise, most people just want to vent. It's one of the reasons i keep my mouth shut about most of my personal problems...because people cannot help themselves from giving advice. In it's essence advice is often arrogent. It's really saying "My way is the right way" or "THIS is what you should do". Most people like to give advice simply to stroke thier own egos and deflect/displace thier own crap on someone else.
So, unless you're talking to someone in a very harmful situation..well, just keep your mouth shut unless they ask you for your input. It's etiquette 101 in my world. But i'm a bit strange i guess:)
Posted by: james
at December 23, 2010 11:50 AM
I am super late. But a memory of mine has been bothering me for quite sometime and thought this would be the perfect forum to talk about it.
It was the Summer of 2008. I was working at my mom's retail store at the time. I was about 14 years old, so I was quite young. I was the only one working at the store, my brother was hidden at the back of the store. This customer along with his son come into the store. From the very get go they were incredibly rude. They started out giving "advice" about the store, but in a way where they were trying to criticize it. Of course most of the memory has gone out of my head, but I remember them asking me "Who did this crappy paint job", and when I answered "we did", they answered "we can tell" and started pointing out all the flaws in the painted wall and laughing at it. This was all the while, when I was trying to assist them in their transactions.
Now I want you to picture this for a moment. Two grown men criticizing and belittling some young girl they've never met. It's a horrible memory, not because of how I felt but just imagining people like this exist in the world. That people, for no reason whatsoever, can be so incredibly rude. That people feel no remorse for those that try.
I will be the first to tell you that our store was not the most professional looking store, but it was because we were struggling. My mom, at the time, had trouble to even put food on the table. She didn't have the resources to make the store more attractive. And the fact that these strangers spent no time in criticizing it, shows me their lack of forgiveness. They simply didn't understand, and that moment in time, I was crying inside. But ofcourse, after all of this, I still concluded their visit with "Thank You and Have a Good Day".
Posted by: Alaa
at January 11, 2014 6:56 AM
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